BROOKLYN, NY - Joe Musgrove struck out five batters and allowed only three hits while pitching a career-high seven innings, as the Tri-City ValleyCats rallied late to topple the host Brooklyn Cyclones 5-0 on Saturday night at MCU Park.
After Brooklyn defeated Tri-City 7-0 in game one of this series on Friday night, the Cyclones and ValleyCats were both held scoreless through the first seven innings.
However, 'Cats catcher Jamie Ritchie broke the deadlock with one out in the top of the eighth by driving home center fielder Jason Martin with an RBI single. Martin had reached by leading off the frame with a bunt single down the first base line.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Tri-City left-hander Bryan Radziewski came on in relief of Musgrove, and worked a scoreless frame to send the game into the final frame
With one out in the top of the ninth, designated hitter Terrell Joyce tripled on a fly ball hit off the top of the wall in left-center field. After he was replaced by pinch runner Alfredo Gonzalez, second baseman Alex Hernandez was hit by a pitch from Cyclones reliever Luis Rengel, then third baseman Juan Santana gave the ValleyCats a 2-0 lead with a ground ball single to right field.
After Brooklyn left-hander Juan Urbina replaced Rengel, and Martin popped up to center field, Mott Hyde drilled a 1-0 pitch from Urbina off of the video board in left field for a three-run home run. The smash was his third long ball of the season.
Hyde's homer created a 5-0 lead, which Tri-City closer Ryan Thompson preserved by pitching a scoreless bottom of the ninth, giving the 'Cats their eight shutout victory of the season.
With the win, coupled with the Connecticut Tigers' 6-2 loss to the Hudson Valley Renegades, the ValleyCats trimmed their magic number to clinch the Stedler Division title, and a berth into the 2014 New York-Penn League playoffs, to two. As a result, any combination of two Tri-City victories and/or two Connecticut losses, would give the 'Cats a spot in the post-season.
The ValleyCats will look to trim that magic number at MCU Park on Sunday, as they conclude this three-game set against the Cyclones. First pitch will be at 5:00pm, with RHP Jay Gause (0-0, 7.62) on the mound for Tri-City, with RHP Marcos Molina (6-2, 1.58) getting the start for Brooklyn.
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